Stephen Speicher

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Rate this movie   24 votes

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20 posts in this topic

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

This movie is all about the pursuit of happiness, and a relentless pursuit it is. So much so that at times it became difficult for me to emotionally experience the endless obstacles to be overcome. I hungered for some sign that victory was in sight, but the world would throw up yet another obstacle to stand in the way. Ultimately, victory was achieved, and I could not help feeling the same sort of elation as experienced by the man who achieved it. It was difficult to live through the life of this man, and I would loved to have seen more of his eventual accomplishment (*), but at least the movie showed that the struggle was worth it. A worthwhile film, with a good performance by Will Smith. i gave it an 8.

The movie started with Will Smith admiring the beautiful red Ferrari of a successful stockbroker, and it would have been some lovely symmetry to see the movie end with him driving such a car.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

The movie started with Will Smith admiring the beautiful red Ferrari of a successful stockbroker, and it would have been some lovely symmetry to see the movie end with him driving such a car.

You're right, that would have been a nice touch.

8 for me as well. Very touching and emotionally resonant story. A hero overcoming adversity is not a new idea, but it is well done here. Obstacle is piled upon obstacle, layer by layer by layer. Will they break him, or will he succeed, and if so, how?

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I really liked this movie.

A relentless pursuit indeed. I think perseverance is the essence of the main character. What do you guys think?

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I think perseverance is the essence of the main character. What do you guys think?

Perseverance, or fortitude, but accompanied by holding to a goal to be achieved. Some people can persevere regardless of purpose, but Chris Gardner had a vision of what the future could bring and it was for that that he persevered. Also, another essential aspect of his character, a related one, is that Chris was a valuer. His motivation seemed to stem from the love for his child and his passion for a better life for them both.

Chris Gardner to his son: "You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period."

And, again to his son: "Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me."

Chris Gardner was a valuer. He did what he needed to do, to reach a vision he had. Even earlier, with his idea for selling the bone density scanners, he was seeking something better in life. I'm glad he persevered and eventually found what he wanted.

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Thanks for reviewing this one, Stephen. I've been intrigued by the ever-so-brief synopses I've seen so far, but wasn't sure whether this was going to be a movie about an individual overcoming obstacles and succeeding, or if there was going to be some element of "if he hadn't had help, he wouldn't have made it...see, shouldn't we help everybody?" to it. After reading your review, I think I'll be heading to the theater for this one.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

This movie is all about the pursuit of happiness, and a relentless pursuit it is. So much so that at times it became difficult for me to emotionally experience the endless obstacles to be overcome. I hungered for some sign that victory was in sight, but the world would throw up yet another obstacle to stand in the way. Ultimately, victory was achieved, and I could not help feeling the same sort of elation as experienced by the man who achieved it. It was difficult to live through the life of this man, and I would loved to have seen more of his eventual accomplishment (*), but at least the movie showed that the struggle was worth it. A worthwhile film, with a good performance by Will Smith. i gave it an 8.

The movie started with Will Smith admiring the beautiful red Ferrari of a successful stockbroker, and it would have been some lovely symmetry to see the movie end with him driving such a car.

[Emphasis mine.]

In the very last scene, Will Smith and his son (as Chris Gardner and son) pass by a man smartly-dressed in a very expensive-looking suit, so expensive that Smith turns to admire his profile.

That man is the real-life Chris Gardner. Perhaps the director expected people to know about the cameo.

I gave the movie a nine.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

This movie reminded of what I think makes life so great. There are plenty of enjoyable things about day-to-day life, but moments such as the last scene of the movie where Gardner has gotten the job as a stockbroker are what keep us going. Watching him walk down the sidewalk pumping his fists and doing an awkward dance made me think "it's been too long since I felt that". The beauty of it is you can't have someone buy you that feeling or get it through luck, it has to be earned. I think any rational person would rather be a Chris Gardner than a richer lotto winner.

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I gave it an 8, though. It was a little bit tedious in the middle.

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[Emphasis mine.]

In the very last scene, Will Smith and his son (as Chris Gardner and son) pass by a man smartly-dressed in a very expensive-looking suit, so expensive that Smith turns to admire his profile.

That man is the real-life Chris Gardner. Perhaps the director expected people to know about the cameo.

I gave the movie a nine.

Good to know!

I just saw this movie tonight and gave it a nine as well.

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I gave it an 8. The movie is uplifting and is a great story. It's well acted, and the characters are engaging - even the little boy! One aspect I liked is that it doesn't display a malevolent universe. The supporting characters are either neutrally or positively portrayed except when it is necessary for the dramatic flow (e.g., his wife and so called friend). There's no mention of racism, not because Chris Gardner didn't face it (he almost certainly did), but because either the book or the script chose to make the story a fight against adversity instead of a social mores critique. This by itself conveys a very strong sense of self responsibility through the movie.

I found it hard to relate to this kind of adversity. I would have broken a dozen time - or maybe not, but I'd rather not tempt fate. This guy must be something else in real life!

Two small criticisms:

1 - The movie is slow paced. I think the story requires it, but still...

2 - The movie didn't make it clear that to work on Wall Street was Chris Gardner's dream. It's obvious that Gardner could have chosen a less difficult path to a less blazing success, if all that motivated him was a will to achieve more than he had at the time. He would clearly have done well in any sales job, and he could have done that without putting his son and himself through such a hardship. The film doesn't make it clear that his internship at Dean Witter wasn't just a way to improving his condition, but his dream.

Walking back to my car, I faced 3 bums asking me for change, and I can tell you that I was even less inclined to waste my money on them than I am usually...

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2 - The movie didn't make it clear that to work on Wall Street was Chris Gardner's dream.

This should say "The movie didn't make it clear that to work as an investment banker...". The movie takes place in San Francisco, so obviously there's no direct connection to Wall Street.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.The movie started with Will Smith admiring the beautiful red Ferrari of a successful stockbroker, and it would have been some lovely symmetry to see the movie end with him driving such a car.

According to this article, he does own one:

http://www.mastermindtrader.com/Christopher_Gardner.html

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.The movie started with Will Smith admiring the beautiful red Ferrari of a successful stockbroker, and it would have been some lovely symmetry to see the movie end with him driving such a car.

According to this article, he does own one:

http://www.mastermindtrader.com/Christopher_Gardner.html

Thanks. That's great to know. From the article:

One night while visiting San Francisco General Hospital on his sales rounds, he spotted a red Ferrari 308 pulling into the parking lot. Sizing up the well-dressed driver, DLJ stockbroker Bob Bridges, Gardner posed two simple questions to him: "What do you do?" and "How do you do that?"

[...]

Cut to: the interior of a garage in Chicago some years back. Pan: slowly, to the car inside. It's a Ferrari. A red one, at that. And there, in the driver's seat, enjoying the delicious moment as he turns the key for the first time, sits Chris Gardner.

I still think seeing Gardner in his own red Ferrari would have been the perfect ending for the movie.

(I keep debating with myself whether his son should be in the passenger seat, or a wonderful woman whom he deserves.)

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There are some mild spoilers below

I give the movie an 8, for its portrayal of a man relentlessly bent on achieving his goal to become successful in the face of great adversity. It's especially relevant as a slap at altruism.

Oddly, one thing was especially disturbing to me - his arrest for failure to pay parking tickets. On principle this seems like a crystal clear case of unconstitutionality, an exact example of the British "debtor's prison" that the Founding Fathers explicitly disavowed.

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...

Walking back to my car, I faced 3 bums asking me for change, and I can tell you that I was even less inclined to waste my money on them than I am usually...

Good to hear Joss, because according to the Downtown Seattle Association we Seattlites need to stop giving to panhandlers :

Seattle association: Don't give to panhandlers

SEATTLE - The Downtown Seattle Association plans to start handing out pamphlets next month urging people not to give money to panhandlers.

The pamphlet will suggest giving money to organizations that help the homeless. The pamphlet also will offer advice on how to refuse a panhandler -- politely saying "no" or "sorry."

The pamphlet advises calling 911 if panhandlers become aggressive.

A spokeswoman for the association, Anita Woo, says the downtown Seattle panhandlers have been getting more aggressive. She says she herself was chased to her car by a man who pounded on the windows demanding money.

The pamphlets will be distributed in downtown hotels and office buildings.

Read Article on King5.com

I have not found the pamphlet yet, but the you can check back at the Downtown Seattle Assoc. website

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Bums who pound car windows demanding money. Sounds like a job for pepper spray.

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Bums who pound car windows demanding money. Sounds like a job for pepper spray.
Yeah. Didn't that used to be called "assault" and "robbery?"

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